sport

Easy for record-breaking Hampshire

Hampshire set a new total record for the fledgling 2014 NatWest T20 Blast season as they beat Middlesex by 47 runs at Northwood.

James Vince spearheaded Hampshire's impressive effort with the bat as they ended on 198 for two, one run ahead of Leicestershire's score against Derbyshire last week, to blow Middlesex away.

The 23-year-old, who recently just missed out on an England call up, added to his rising stock by finishing on 68 runs in a blistering knock that included 10 fours and two sixes.

Middlesex, who no doubt regretted their decision to field first, made a brave attempt at chasing the runs they needed but their defiance eventually wilted and they fell to a fourth successive T20 defeat as Hampshire spinner Danny Briggs took three wickets.

Vince combined with Jimmy Adams to fire Hampshire to an impressive 99 without loss after nine overs.

Man-of-the-moment Vince hit four back-to-back boundaries off Steven Finn early on to set the tone for the partnership as both men piled on the runs.

Middlesex's attack struggled, especially Finn, who was sent home early from England's dismal tour to Australia in the winter.

The 24-year-old seamer has bounced back since then, topping the FTI MVP rankings at the start of the month, but he gave away 37 runs off his first two overs for no wickets on Sunday.

Ravi Patel stepped in to break up the party, with Adams (38) stumped off his delivery in the 10th over before Vince became his second victim 12 balls later.

The right-hander was caught by James Harris in the deep to leave Hampshire on a very healthy 119 for two.

Owais Shah (49 not out) and Adam Wheater (30 not out) picked up the baton for the visitors and, with Finn and co unable to make any further progress, they saw out Hampshire's innings to leave Middlesex with a mountain to climb.

The hosts made a solid start but three wickets in three overs all-but ended their hopes just before the halfway stage of their innings, leaving them on 69 for three.

Paul Stirling (40), Dawid Malan (23) and Daniel Christian (three) all fell during that devastating period which saw Briggs claim Malan's wicket with his first ball of the day.

Briggs came back for more shortly after as Neil Dexter (five) showed him the stumps and he took full advantage, before Adam Rossington (three) was also bowled by Will Smith.

With Middlesex now having no choice but to open up at every opportunity more wickets fell to Hampshire's ruthless attack.

John Simpson (10) was caught easily off Briggs while Ollie Rayner (seven) and Harris (18) were also unable to make significant headway before the teams shook hands.